1991 was the final year of the Cold War. It was the year India abandoned its policies of socialism and autarky and the year that the Japanese economy collapsed. But the most memorable event was Steven Seagal´s decision that it was time. Time to take on the identity of police officer “Gino Fellino“, one of the many alias identities he forged during his time serving the CIA, the LAPD and the KGB. To document his case, Seagal decided that the right man to follow him with a camera was director John Flynn, who had previously documented grievances at East Jersey State Prison in his documentary “Lock Up“.
The documentary “Out for Justice” chronicles the events that happen to Steven Seagal under his codename “Gino Fellino“ after his partner Bobby Lupo bangs the girlfriend of “Richie Madano“, a middle aged gentleman with a slight anger management problem. Richie has six bullets with Billy´s name on them and after gunning him down in broad daylight he decides to go on a brooklyn killing spree, shooting everybody who cuts him off in traffic or looks at him funny. I am sure fellow seagalogist Mucho Macho would agree that it takes more than a man to stop this unstoppable lunatic. It takes the Sensei.
To end the “Brooklyn Massacre“ (badass German title of the movie) good old fashioned police work is needed. Seagal aka Gino is the right man for the job since his methods are strictly professional, as is his vocabulary. He identifies a lady as “The one with nipples you could dial a phone with“, informs a suspect that he´s gonna “cut off his head and piss down his throat“ and clearly explains his work ethic. “I feed you every dope-dealing guy he’s got, but let me do it my way. Just give me an unmarked and a shotgun.“
The world of „Out for Justice“ comes to life through the unique attitude of it´s characters who either grew up with one another or at least know each other. This is best illustrated in the terrific opening scene as Gino grabs a pimp by the neck, smashes his head through the passenger side window of a car, then swings him by his tie into some garbage cans. The pimp doesn´t yell „Who are you, what do you want from me?“ He yells „Gino, you son of a bitch!“. ´Cause everybody knows Gino and everybody knows that he´s out for justice! As he flips the pimp head first through the windshield, the screen freezes and the title card appears: „O-U-T F-O-R J-U-S-T-I-C-E“. In grey letters. Why? ´Cause grey is more badass than white and this movie is as badass as they get.
“Out for Justice“ is a blast for everybody who remembers the 90s. It has a scene with Steven Seagal cruising the streets to the tunes of the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Til Brooklyn“. It has a classic 90s villain in the form of Richie Madano, a guy so badass he even looks cool with a mustache. This is no over the top Bond villain trying to rule the world or another one-dimensional terrorist trying to get money. It´s simply a pissed off lunatic on the worst day of his life. A crackhead going on a path of self destruction, taking as many people with him as possible.
“Out for Justice“ is unique in the way its characters dress and talk. You could do a talking action figure of Gino Fellino saying “Anybody know why Richie did Bobby Lupo?“ and people would know which movie it is from. Heck, you could do a Lego Figure of Richie Madano and people would recognize him with his mustache, coat and hairstyle. You can’t say that about many of Seagal´s adversaries but you can say it about nearly every character in this movie. In other films people just die after taking a deadly hit. In this film The characters are so badass they even keep insulting their enemies while dying. Billy is hit by six shots but still has enough air to call Richie a fucking asshole. In other movies the guys taking hits just lay down and die but in this movie they comment with lines like “Motherfucker you knocked my teeth out!“(after being knocked with a pool ball), “You took my leg!“ (after having a leg shot off by the Sensei) or “My Balls! My Balls! Balls“ (after being kicked in – I can´t remember where).
“Out for Justice“ not only passes the “Talking Action Figure“ test, it also passes the “Video Game“ test. The car chase scene of Gino following Richie through the streets of Brooklyn would look perfect in pixels. Super Mario would stand no chance against a 2D Gino Fellino fighting with frying pans, baseball bets, rolling pins, corkscrews and sausages(this movie has it all).
If you haven´t seen “Out for Justice“ yet, stop what you´re doing and watch it. If you have seen it, consider watching it again. It is an early 90s gem that really earned it´s cult status. One of those movies that makes you wanna go into the next bar and ask “Anybody seen Richie?“.
So why 9 out of 10 instead of 10 out of 10 points? The reason is simple. “Out for Justice“ stars Gina Gershon, a sex goddess of american cinema that gave us steamy scenes in respected film classics like “Showgirls“ and “Bound“. Still we get no nudity here. Having such an icon in your cast and not letting her do her thing is like owning a Ferrari and only driving it at a walking pace. One little faux-pas in a great, great movie.
– Austrian Oak